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Ratchet & Clank 2 PlayStation 2

Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Insomniac Games
Released: Out Now
Price: £39.99

Sony began the year with an excellent platformer, Sly Raccoon, and they are finishing the year with an even better one, Ratchet & Clank 2. Insomniac could have taken the easy route this time around and simply created more of the same as, after all, the original game was very popular indeed. Thankfully though Insomniac didn't rest on their laurels and have added so much to this sequel that it makes the original Ratchet & Clank look quite basic by comparison.

The game begins with our heroes sitting down, fed up and bored and trying to make out like they are doing well. They are kidding nobody however and when the offer of a job comes along they grab it with both hands. Their life of boredom is about to change and they are soon offered employment by Mr Abercrombie Fizzwidget the eccentric CEO of Megacorp. Megacorp HQ has been broken into and their latest project, the Protopet has been stolen. Fizzwidget is desperate to have the Protopet back and want to hire our two heroes to carry out the task. Ratchet is offered luxury accommodation, free health care, a whole new range of weapons and training as a commando. It soon becomes obvious that all is not what it seems though and Fizzwidget might not be the nice guy he makes himself out to be.

To call Ratchet & Clank 2 simply a sequel doesn't do it justice. There are even RPG elements this time around for both the weapons and Ratchet. The more you use a weapon the more powerful it will become. The weapons include lancer, heavy lancer, gravity bombs, sniper rifles and grenade launchers to name but a few. At the beginning of the game you'll only have access to the lancer and the gravity bombs. Ammo will deplete for all weapons so you'll have to use your weapons wisely. Of course you may think that with the weapons becoming stronger, that the game might get easier as the game goes on but this just isn't true as your enemies will also increase in strength and in actual fact the enemies become a lot more challenging as the game goes on. These RPG elements are also added to Ratchet. As you progress through the game Ratchet will earn nanotech points which will enable him to take a lot more hits, which is very useful indeed because as we have just mentioned the enemies will get much stronger as the game wears on.

In total there are 20 missions in Ratchet & Clank 2 with 50% more gameplay being promised this time around. Aside from the missions there are also a collection of mini-games or as they are termed here Maxi Games to be played. These include duels, hover bike races and space invader type games and whilst none are brilliant they're all fun and worthwhile. There are also a range of unlockable items such as a first person mode and different costumes for Ratchet. There is just so much to this game that it definitely warrants a play through at least twice.

Ratchet & Clank 2 certainly looks as good as any other platformer on the PlayStation 2. The many different locations in the game all have a unique and satisfactory look about them too. The main characters and their enemies all look and move impressively too. The cutscenes, whilst unsubtitled, again look impressive. Amazingly there is also no slowdown which is excellent considering how good the game looks. Insomniac have done a superb job from start to finish with the visuals in Ratchet & Clank 2.

Whilst the game is superb it's not all it should be for deaf gamers. This is down to the fact that the games introduction and cutscenes are not subtitled and as you are all well aware when the story is kept from you it's not as enjoyable, especially when the games characters are as charming as Ratchet and Clank. Thankfully though the games tutorial messages are shown in text and the objectives can be accessed from the map menu. Pressing the start button will allow you to select the help log which recalls all of the tutorial messages that you have received. You'll also find other useful stuff such as the Monsterpedia which contains information on the enemies found within the game.

Insomniac Games have created what many will see as one of the platform games of the year and it would be difficult to argue with such an opinion. Ratchet & Clank 2 takes the formula of the first game and manages to improve on it by quite a large margin and throw in a whole range of superb additions. The only downside is the omission of subtitles which does put a dent in our rating of the game and certainly robs deaf gamers of being able to appreciate the games story. Still if you are a fan of the genre and enjoyed the first game then this is definitely a game to consider.

Overall Game Rating: 8.2/10
Quite simply a superb sequel that is only spoilt by the lack of subtitles.

Deaf Gamers comment:
It's a real disappointment that deaf gamers are robbed of the chance to appreciate the games story.